Saturday, February 7, 2009

Tanah Merah Surprises!

It's a Saturday afternoon and many Singaporeans are out in the sun having some relaxation in the beach.


Or participate in some sea sports as I've encountered off the shores of Tanah Merah.


Yes today's trip is to Tanah Merah with Yikang and Geraldine. Something about Tanah Merah that we will never forget is the presence of many wonderful Cake sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta) that literally dotted the whole shore.


Though I didn't manage to find the rarer Keyhole sand dollar (Echinodiscus truncatus) that we saw at Tanah Merah before, I am still glad to find many Cake sand dollars on this shore.


Another group of animals that dominates Tanah Merah must be these button snails (Umbonium vestiarum) that are also a delight to encounter.


Interestingly, there were moments where we seen some Striped hermit crab (Clibanarius sp.) seemingly to feed or interact with the button snails.


And somehow, I manage to spot this tiny brownish crab camouflaging on the shell of the hermit crab.


If you think digging in the sand is safe, sometimes you might just brush yourself with the bristleworm or as known as fireworm which definitely will leave you an unforgettable experience (think of fire).


There are many dead shells of snails and clams that one can find, which gives a reflectance of what life is there in the subtidal or at the supralittoral zone.


I also found this weird looking spine thingy. Wonder what does this belong to?


The Ball moon snail (Polinices didyma) feeds on the button snails by prowling on and beneath the sand. The shell of this snail is interesting because it looks like an eye. Haha.

Of course, there are more that meets the eye during today's trip at Tanah Merah. There were several surprises!!


One of the surprises will be this white blobbish and slug-like creature that looks like it has an eye within its body exterior body.


And it was Geraldine found this weird looking creature that I've never seen before.


This was how it was like when she first found it. I thought it was a nudibranch or slug at first but there were no gills to begin with. It was rather thick and it looks like there are something inside (with the "eye"). Could this be an egg case of some fish or squid that has about to hatch?

What is intruiging was that this creature can move and burrow into the sand slowly.

Here's the next surprise!


I was very pleasantly surprised and amazed to find this rare Bordered sea star (Craspidaster hesperus) that was only seen once before at Beting Bronok. It was rather small, like the size of a sand star (Astropecten sp.) which I thought it was initially.


The upper surface of the body is covered with special flat-topped, pillar-like structures called paxillae. They look like little starlets on the surface.

I didn't expect to find this rare sea star at a reclaimed shore. But as their natural habitat is soft, probably the sandy area of Tanah Merah is a good home for them? Wow, must look out for more of them in similar shore habitats.


A sea pen (probably Scytalium sp.) is also considered a surprise to me at Tanah Merah since my impression of this place is that it is not as rich as Changi or Chek Jawa. It's always fun to find a sea pen. Because there is usually resident porcelain crabs living on the sea pen. Can you spot it?


This is possibly a Painted porcelain crab (Porcellanella picta). I love the pink spots on its carapace which has a blending effect with the pink spots of the sea pen.

I wonder what are the brown bivalve looking structures on the sea pen...hmm.


Here's a macro close up of this cute looking pretty porcelain crab.

The final surprise for today will be this snail!


It has a nicely pattern shell with brown linings. A closeup look reveals eye stalks! Not many types of snails have such long eye stalks like the gong gong or the spider conch from the Family Strombidae.


The eye stalks and their blade-like opercula reminds me closely to the gong gong. But the shell is not plain.


An underwater shot of this beautiful gastropod reveals its beautiful eye stalks with a tentacle each, which we still don't know its function.


There is also a siphon looking thing coming out.

I was surfing the net to look for its identity. Could it be Strombus marginatus? Could it be a new record for Singapore?

Today's trip to Tanah Merah was indeed surprising and it proves to shore that return trips to seemingly less attractive shores are worth it!

7 comments:

Mei Lin said...

Pretty snail! The siphon that stuck out of this Strombus sp. seems different from the normal gong gong or black lipped conches too. This one has a mottled green and beige colour while the other two are algae green...

Nice find~

Ivan said...

Oh man those are some exciting and weird findings.

I have no idea what that white thing is, but that conch does look a lot like Strombus marginatus (listed in the links below as Dolomena marginata:

Dolomena marginata marginata
Dolomena marginata succincta

pamela said...

i love that weird white-ish slug/squid thing! that's really amazing!

and the bordered sea star is crazy pretty!

and the porcelain macroshot is gorgeous!

i just came back from cell group, and our theme tonight was God of surprises :)

Hen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hen said...

Wow, those are some really awesome and amazing finds at Tanah Merah!! Wish I'd gone too!!

koksheng said...

This trip changed my perception of Tanah Merah. Will definitely check this shore more often!

Chim C K said...

The 'weird looking spine thingy' should be the spine of a sea urbin, probably a Prionocidaris sp.

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